It's the old girlfriend calling you up in the middle of the night.
She misses you. She's sorry. What was she thinking ... she was so young and immature.
Blah, blah, blah ...
Rich Harden, please don't break our hearts again.
Wednesday morning was that magical first date, all over again. Dinner at that Italian restaurant. Holding hands in the park. A walk through the fountain.
Early this morning, Harden pitched six masterful innings in Tokyo, striking out 9, giving up just 3 hits and one run, a solo shot to Manny Ramirez.
The knee-jerk reaction is to move him way up on your draft board, but for your own sanity, I beg of you, please do not take Harden too high.
Only you can be the judge, but whether it's the 15th round in mixed leagues, or the 9th round in an AL-only draft, make sure to examine all the other available pitching options, before taking Mr. Harden out for a spin. There's a good chance it could all end in tears.
- In 2007's opener, Harden dazzled us with a 7-inning shutout performance at Seattle, striking out 7. He made just 7 starts last year, shut down with a shoulder injury.
- In 2006, Harden opened by throwing a strong 5 2/3 innings against the Yankees, giving up 3 runs, then followed with 3 consecutive wins against the Mariners, Rangers and Angels. But he started just 9 games that season, with strained ligaments in his right elbow.
- In 2005, Harden started the season, looking like Cy Young, allowing just 1 ER in his first 3 games (Devil Rays, Angels, Seattle) but made his last start Aug. 19 after a strained muscle in his right shoulder, and tried later to make a comeback out of the bullpen.
This relationship's likely not to end well.